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Forced pooling policies remain unclear in Pennsylvania’s shale plays

The first modern test case of a controversial section of Pennsylvania’s dusty Oil and Gas Conservation Law ended with a fizzle in 2014 when the drilling company that sought to use it withdrew its application.

Hilcorp Energy Co. wanted to use the “forced pooling” provisions of the law to drill and hydraulically fracture the Utica Shale beneath property in northwestern Pennsylvania where a fraction of the property owners had refused to lease their drilling rights.

Observers had hoped the case would clear up critical questions about how the 53-year-old law applies to gas production from the Utica Shale, but the application didn’t get far enough to answer many of them.

 

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